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Pacific Grove Chamber: Over 100 Years of History

Pacific Grove Chamber: Over 100 Years of History

 

The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce was officially incorporated in 1915 with Ed “Casey” Simpson, a plumber, as its first president.  Before 1915, the chamber existed as a loosely knit group called the Board of Trade, with Simpson as its president since 1908.  Following Simpson as president of the chamber were other civic and business leaders such as E. Cooke Smith, Dr. Frank Hart, Elgin Hurlbert, W.J. Gould, Sheldon Gilmer, Andy Jacobsen, and C.A. Bordchers.

     The first office of the chamber was in a rented frame building near Tuttle’s Drugstore on Lighthouse Avenue across the street from the old Pacific Grove Hotel where Holman’s now stands.  The chamber’s long-time, well known secretary, A.C. “Gus” Jochmus, started working for the chamber in this location.  In 1918, as the Pacific Improvement Co. was dismantling the hotel, the Woman’s Civic Club somehow acquired the old octagonal shaped bandstand that stood in the front of the hotel grounds.  It was in sad shape so they had it “fixed up” (some say almost reconstructed) and presented it to the city for use by the chamber.  It was placed at the corner of Grand and Central, near the current bandstand, where it stood until 1932.  Andy Jacobsen stuccoed the building in 1927 or 1928.

     In 1932, the now “too small” building of the chamber needed to be moved.  The city wanted to “round off” the corner of Grand and Central to make it safer…and…the city needed a temporary clubhouse for the newly-built golf links in town.  The building was moved to the golf course.  It just so happens that the new museum was being built at the same time, and its old entrance building became available.  This building also happened to be octagonal shaped, but was larger than the chamber’s original little building.  This building was moved to the side of the museum property facing Forest Avenue, across from the current parking lot next to Pepper’s.  This was supposed to be a temporary location until the city needed to landscape the site.

     In 1936 the chamber asked the city if they could move the building to the space between upper and lower Lighthouse in front of what is now Pasta Mia, but business owners in the vicinity opposed the move because of traffic and parking concerns.  The city denied the request.  In 1937 the chamber asked the city if they could move the building to the park opposite the library.  The city denied the request.  In 1938, the city offered a small shack located at 162 Forest to the chamber and said they could move it across the street to where a larger house had been demolished because of the Central Avenue widening project (please see June/July 1996 Board and Batten).The chamber accepted the offer and moved the building and remodeled it into a sturdy, attractive building.  This building has been the home of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce ever since.

Source:  The Board and Batten, April/May 1997.